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The stalemate in the latest round of climate negotiations, held in Doha, Qatar, last month, makes it clear that a fresh approach is needed if the world is to avert climate catastrophe. One part of the solution should be a new global climate agency, founded, financed and led by a coalition of the big emerging market countries.
How will the international community raise billions of dollars to help developing countries reduce emissions and respond to the already emerging impacts of climate change? How will the funds be allocated and delivered to recipient countries? Next month’s climate summit in Doha is expected to focus intensely on these questions.
China recently announced it will reduce the emissions-intensity of its economy (ratio of emissions to GDP) by at least 40-45 percent by 2020. But in Copenhagen it is resisting making that promise an internationally binding commitment. That’s a big problem for the U.S. negotiators, since the Congress is adamant: the U.S. will not commit until and unless the Chinese do too.
Yesterday I sent this letter to CGD contacts who have expressed an interest in our work on development and climate change. But it really should be of interest to all in the development community. If you share my view that climate and development are inextricably intertwined, please read on, take the survey, and tell your friends to take it, too!
Development advocates hoping for an equitable as well as efficient global agreement on climate change ought to be deeply depressed about the results of a recent FT/Harris poll. What is depressing is the way the question was framed (and that does matter): “Do you agree that, since China is the biggest carbon emitter, it should cut its emissions the most?” In most G-7 countries including the U.S., more than 60 percent of respondents agreed.
Eldis, the online aggregator of development policy, practice and research at the Institute of Development Studies in Sussex, is conducting a survey to identify "the most significant new piece of development research of 2008." This strikes me as having roughly the same statistical validity as American Idol does for when it comes to finding new singing talent. Still, as with Idol and other talent shows, the entertainment value of a popularity contest is hard to dispute!
We are at the start of what promises to be an unusually difficult year in the global economy. Policy decisions in the United States and other rich world countries will matter immensely for poor and vulnerable people living in developing countries.
Last week the Center for Global Development hosted the third annual Richard H. Sabot Lecture to honor the memory of Dick Sabot, a development practitioner and scholar, and a founding member of CGD's board of directors (see our events page for photos and a trascript of the event). Lord Nicholas Stern, IG Patel Professor of Economics at the London School of Economics and author of the Stern Review, spoke on "The Economics of a Global Deal on Climate Change."
This is a joint post with Arvind Subramanian
In a Q&A published today, CGD non-resident fellow Peter Timmer estimates that soaring global food prices and panicky starve-thy-neighbor rice export restrictions in Asia could lead to 10 million or more premature deaths in the region if the current high prices are passed along to poor rice consumers.